Updates from Orange County’s Director for the Florida Department of Health – Robert Karch
Hybrid Meeting – March 30, 2023
Robert D. Karch, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P. was appointed the Health Officer and Director for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County by Florida Surgeon General Joseph A. Ladapo, M.D., Ph.D. The appointment’s final, procedural approval was confirmed by the Orange County Board of County Commissioners at their July 26, 2022, meeting.
Dr. Karch brings over two decades of experience in the medical field and extensive public health and administrative experience. Before joining DOH-Orange, Dr. Karch was the Deputy Secretary and Deputy State Health Officer for Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, assuming that role in 2020. Prior to this position, he practiced ambulatory and inpatient pediatrics with the Nemours Foundation and served as the president of the medical staff and chair of the medical executive committee at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida. He is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine, where he directed the medical nutrition curriculum. He also served as the UCF College of Medicine pediatric clerkship site director for the Nemours Children’s Hospital inpatient teaching service from 2014-2019. He was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society at UCF College of Medicine in 2017.
He is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). He is also a member of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FCAAP), the American Public Health Association, the Florida Public Health Association, and the American Society for Nutrition. He is a Board Member of the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, the Florida Developmental Disability Council, and the Florida Genetic and Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. He serves on the Florida State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) (2022-2026) Advisory Committee and is a Co-Chair of the SHIP Injury, Safety, and Violence Priority Area Workgroup.
Dr. Karch earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Delaware, a Master of Public Health degree with special emphasis in health promotion and disease prevention from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and a Master of Science degree in Health Policy Research from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He earned his Medical Degree (MD) from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Karch completed his pediatric internship and residency training at the Miami Children’s Hospital (Nicklaus Children’s Hospital), where he also served as chief pediatric resident. Following residency training, he served in the National Health Service Corp (NHSC) as a general pediatrician in rural northern Arizona at the Canyonlands Community Health Care Center in Page, Arizona. After his NHSC service, Dr. Karch completed a fellowship in Pediatric Nutrition within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He also completed a Health Services and Health Policy research fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
He is eager to collaborate with the Orange County Government, City of Orlando, community partners, international community, and all of the talented public health professionals at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. He is committed to protecting, promoting, and improving the health of all Floridians through integrated state, county, and community efforts.